Sistering

This is my ex-husband’s wife. My son’s stepmother. In this patriarchy in which we live, there is language for who she is to these primary people in my life. But there is no language for who she is to me. I have been searching for a term that expresses the depth of vulnerability and beauty, (read on)

What I love about you is everything

At the personal development workshop, we paired up to do a “What I love about you” exercise. After practicing in pairs with other workshop participants, we were asked to choose someone outside the workshop and do the exercise with them that evening. I chose to call my seven-year-old son. I explained to Teddy that I was (read on)

You are not alone

I was at a weekend self-development workshop, seated at a dinner table with five other people, a few of whom had known me well for many years. When it was my turn to share my goals for the workshop, I declared that I was committed to discovering new ways to connect, collaborate, and feel less alone. Gavin (read on)

The Joy of Ex

I didn’t know when I was divorcing that I’d eventually come out the other side happier. I didn’t know that I’d come to love and appreciate and respect my co-parent again, in a fresh and true and far more sustainable way. I didn’t know that my son would would thrive. I didn’t know how incredibly (read on)

The body is a wonderland

Pete is getting married on Saturday. When Natasha asked how I was feeling about the wedding, for a moment I went blank and couldn’t figure out whose wedding she was talking about. When I realized she was talking about Pete, my conclusion was that I must be feeling just fine about the wedding. That night, I dreamed that I was (read on)

Stepping Out of the Boat

Inside the story of our marriage, I was a certain kind of woman, a certain kind of wife and mother. Even if things weren’t happy or whole, I knew my part and how to play it. It was understood between Pete and me that I would be the one to willingly exhaust and overextend myself (read on)

Blind date

You realize with a shock as you are hugging her that you have arranged to meet at the same coffee shop where you first met your ex-husband. You blurt this out ungracefully as you sit down across from this stranger who has been a planet in your family constellation for more than a year. The (read on)

Self-Responsibility and Storytelling

The tricky thing about telling the truth is that there is no single truth. A diamond has endless refractions, and so do the events we live through. How we dig a moment up, shape it, and polish it influences what we can see and feel at any given time. But this process is in constant (read on)

Stepping off of the merry go round of disappointment

Locked into a dynamic defined by opposing camps of “Disappointer” and “Disappointed”, there’s not much room for anyone to find new ground. Trying to get something that has never been attainable from someone who was never equipped to give it in the first place is like being on a merry-go-round and expecting to end up (read on)

The Co-Parent Carpool

When I returned to full-time employment, my new job’s hours were exactly the hours of my son’s preschool. Which meant that I would need to be commuting to work at the times I would otherwise be transporting my son to and from school. I negotiated a daily rhythm that had me coming in an hour (read on)

Claim Your Own Independence Day

Once, a man I had just met at a seminar casually mentioned that he was celebrating his own, personal Independence Day. When I inquired, he explained that he had decided to quit smoking 14 years ago on this day. Every year, he celebrated this choice and its related freedom. More than two years after Pete (read on)

Trying to Act Normal When Nothing is Normal

When he was not quite two, Teddy and I embarked on the very first foreshadowing of his independent life away from his parents: a weekly Mommy and Me class. I enrolled with the idea that we’d make some friends in the neighborhood who Teddy could play with in the next few years until his school days officially (read on)

Fresh Kill

My cat Valentino has a nightly ritual — one that he has had his entire life. He “kills” something for me while I am sleeping and then carries it, meowing in a series of wild howls, into my bedroom. In his early years, his kill was what was lying around: socks and dog toys. These (read on)

Separation before the age of story

The world, it occurs to me, is woven together in story. We create our context and our identities through the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what our lives are meant to be and mean. Family, too, is a net of story. When ours gave out, our son was a year and (read on)